April home sales tanked — but not as badly as predicted: Remax

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With the coronavirus impact in full effect, annual home sales took a nosedive in April, according to Remax. The numbers marked the end of a four-month streak of growth in sales.

Closed transactions dropped 20.2% from April 2019 and 13.7% from March 2020. Typically, there's a substantial jump in activity in April, which continues into the summer months. Only two of the 53 metro areas surveyed saw annual sales increases: Billings, Mont., jumped 9.9% and Minneapolis rose 3.6%. Meanwhile, Detroit, Miami, New York and San Francisco all posted decreases of over 40%.

Despite a major decline during what's normally the fifth-best month for property sales, April 2020 wasn't as bleak as expected, considering the pandemic shutting down the country.

"April results were better than many expected, as consumers continued to buy and sell real estate in one of the most challenging months for housing in memory," Adam Contos, Remax CEO, said in a press release. "This was a headwind like no other — yet we still saw activity across the country. Even in the markets that dropped 40% in sales, people wanted or needed to move, which says something about resiliency and the power of homeownership."

April's housing supply dropped 18.2% year-over-year and 2.2% month-to-month. However, due to April's stifled rate of sales, inventory went up to a 3.5-month supply, compared to 3 months the year before and 2.9 months in March. A supply of 6 months defines market equilibrium. The average days on market went to 46 days in April, down from 53 the year prior and 54 in March.

Conversely, housing values gained steam. The median home sales price increased to $276,000 in April, up 9.3% year-over-year and 4.2% month-over-month. All 53 markets saw price growth annually, with the largest jumps coming in Manchester, N.H., at 20%, Augusta, Maine, at 19.1% and 16.9% in Philadelphia.

"We believe the coronavirus and the measures to slow it pushed the spring selling season back a bit," Contos said. "But we believe buyer demand remains relatively strong despite the pandemic, and sellers who pulled their listings in March or April will hopefully come back into the market this summer. Others may start the process after being stuck in a home that no longer suits them."

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Housing market Home prices Housing inventory Coronavirus Purchase Remax